Instructions for Case Study
Case Study = analysis, report + presentation
You Case Study focuses on a given governance context in a certain geographical scale, ranging from global (UN-Water and SDGs) and regional scales (Mekong, EU) to national and local (Kokemäenjoki, HSY) scales.
Case Study forms a key part of the entire course, and you are expected to allocate around 54 hours of independent/group work time for Case Study work. This means on average 7.5 hours i.e. one day in each week during the entire course (in addition to Case Study Sessions, that is: see separate work hours document). Please thus plan your Case Study carefully and allocate enough time for your work from the very beginning of the course.
The Case Study consists of three main parts:
- Governance analysis of your Case Study
- Preparing a Case Study Report
- Presenting your Case Study
1. Governance analysis of your Case Study
Carry out a governance analysis of your Case Study, using our Governance Frame as your general analysis framework: feel free to modify it to suite better your governance context and collective problem (for more on Case Study as a research method, see below).
After, applying a set of analysis methods that you feel are most relevant for your study: example of these are introduced in our Case Study Session on Governance Analysis Methods.
We strongly recommend you to read carefully the excellent article by Reed et al. 2009 (here + also as your Reading Material). To get going, you can follow the modified step-by-step approach suggested in Case Study Information slides, with the key steps defined below (that can each be done with different methods: see Reed et al). Kindly note that the different colours correspond with the different elements of governance as shown in our governance framework.
How to use your time for the analysis? The idea is to apply the following 80/20 principle for your Case Study analysis: use 80% of your time for descriptive analysis of the Case Study (answering the questions 'what?' and 'how?') and 20% of the time for critical analysis of your Case Study in relation to the Collective Problem it aims to solve (answering the question 'why?'), including also your views on its main challenges and possible improvements.
2. Case Study Report
You will document your analysis in a Case Study Report and its length should be 15-20 pages (font 12 pt, spacing 1,5): the length does not include references and possible annexes (that can thus be extra). The Report follows the general structure of a scientific article, although it can be more visual: the idea is that your visualisations (that describe your analysis results) can be directly used in your presentation.
The report should include following parts:
- Introduction (~2-3 pages): introducing your case study context as well as the related Social Function you have defined.
- Material & Methods (~2-4 pages): how you carried out your analysis. Describe what were your key material (different types of literature, possible interviews etc.) and how you found them as well as the analytical framework and analysis methods you used in your Case Study.
- Results (~8-10 pages): documents the key results of your descriptive analysis. You are recommended to structure this according to key governance elements i.e. actors, institutions and interactions. You are strongly recommended to include visualisations: you can then use these in your presentation.
- Methodological discussion (~2-3 pages): this section is for your own reflection on how your given analysis framework and selected methods actually worked for the analysis. To help you to write this section, you can also think what you would possibly now do differently.
- Conclusions (~2-3 pages): concluding your Case Study based on the results presented and providing the key findings from your critical analysis (i.e. how well the governance context addresses your defined Social Function & main challenges + possibilities for improvement). The conclusions should put the results into broader context.
- References: list all the references (publications, websites, interviews....) you have used in your study at the end of your report.
Similarly to a scientific article, make sure you cite your references correctly: remember that plagiarism is not allowed (for more, see Aalto's Code of Academic Integrity). The references should include also peer-reviewed journal articles. The citation style is for you to decide, but Harvard style is recommended (e.g. http://guides.is.uwa.edu.au/harvard).
To find scientific articles on your topic, use scientific search engines such as the Science Direct (http://www.sciencedirect.com) or Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.fi/). To access the articles, you can log in through the web pages of the Aalto Library.
Deadlines: Draft Report by 9am of your Case Study presentation day. Final Report by the end of the course (Sun 28.2). Idea is that you can revise your report based on the feedback you get on your presentation.
Name your report as follows: # Group name - Draft Report / Final Report, where # is the number of your group.
The final draft of the report must be ready before your presentation, and you must submit it to MyCourses by 9am of your Case Study Session day. The deadline for the final report is by the end of the course 28.2: this gives you time to fine-tune and revise the report based on the discussions and feedback you received from your presentation.
3. Presenting your Case Study
You must present your Case Study to others during a Case Study presentation day on Week 7. The length of your presentation is maximum 30 minutes, and it should include both descriptive analysis part (what and how) as well as critical analysis part (why). All group members must participate in the presentation.
Your presentation must follow the structure of your Report, with following parts: Introduction; Material & Methods; Results; Discussion; and Conclusions. Remember also to add key references to your slides!
There are naturally different ways to prepare and give your presentation, and we encourage you to find your own style and approach! At the same time please pay particular attention to the clarity of your presentation, in terms of both overall structure and the content of the slides. We also encourage you to use some guides/tips for preparing a good presentation (see e.g. the YouTube video by Todd Reubold below).
Submit your presentation to MyCourses before the session (and re-submit afterwards if you have revised it). Name your presentation as follows: # Group name - Presentation / Revised presentation, where # is the number of your group.
Methods for case study and qualitative research
To understand what case study as a research method is, please view the attached short video by ChrisFlipp. You may also have a look at this Finnish language introduction in Metodix: "Case-tutkimus metodisena lähetymistapana". You are also encouraged to find relevant books (e.g. Robert K Yin's Case Study Research: Design and Methods): you can access these through Aalto Learning Center or ask from your mentor.
To collect and analyse data for your Case Study, you will be using qualitative research methods such as interviewing. For more information on that, have a look at the material available in Aalto's course 21E00011 Doing Qualitative Research and browse through the relevant books available through Aalto Learning Center. For example the book "Qualitative Methods in Business Research" by Eriksson & Kovalainen (2008) is available for Aalto students as e-book (here), and includes also a useful chapter on Case Study Research.